With Danny Jansen hitting the IL again because of hand fracture, now is the perfect time for the Blue Jays to promote Gabriel Moreno for his MLB debut.
The most obvious reason is that Moreno can likely help the Blue Jays right away, as he has been terrorizing Triple-A pitching so far this year, and has pushed himself into top 5-10 prospect status in all of baseball depending on what list you’re looking at. Entering play on Tuesday evening, Moreno was slashing .323/.377/.403 across 133 at-bats, adding one home run and 23 RBI.
In a perfect world the Blue Jays might let Moreno spend a little bit more time in Triple-A, especially to continue to refine his defence. However, now that Danny Jansen is going to be on the shelf for at least a few weeks, why not use this as an opportunity to get the top prospect’s feet wet?
I truly believe that this is the lens that the Blue Jays should looking through with Moreno right now, and that a short opportunity now could be huge later in the year. Because the Blue Jays are considered a legitimate contender, they don’t and won’t have time for rookie to learn on the fly, especially when the stretch run rolls around later in the season. Allowing Moreno to get some big league experience now could be huge for the 22 year old, and it might better prepare him for the pressure that he could see in August and September, assuming he’s a part of the big league roster by then.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Moreno spends the entire season in Buffalo, unless he has to miss time with an injury of his own. If it feels inevitable that he’ll make his debut at some point, and delaying that first experience could very likely add pressure later on.
When I look at the current roster, there really isn’t much getting in the way of that decision either. Moreno is already on the 40-man roster, so they wouldn’t have to make room for him or designate anyone for assignment to add him to the team. As it stands, Zack Collins was promoted to the big league roster to take Danny Jansen’s place and serve as the back-up catcher. With all due respect to the popular new Blue Jay, I don’t think he brings anything to the table that Moreno can’t. Even his left-handed bat has cooled off after he was hot for a while, and I would argue that the Blue Jays would likely prefer to start Raimel Tapia or Cavan Biggio if they want to break up the long line of righties.
Since Collins also his minor league options, you could realistically call up Moreno and simply swap him out with Collins, and I’m not sure what would stop the Blue Jays from making that decision. Maybe they know something that we don’t as far as Moreno’s development is concerned, but otherwise I think he should be on his way to the big leagues sooner than later.
It doesn’t have to be a permanent situation for now, and it could be explained to Moreno in advance that he’ll return to Triple-A once Jansen is healthy. This is a contending team after all, and I’m sure a rookie will understand that, even if they’re one of the more highly regarded prospects in baseball. The current situation presents an opportunity to give Moreno some valuable experience that could be helpful later in the year, and I think the Blue Jays would be wise to take advantage.